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Living in the Observation

mary-mackenzie-150This morning I went to the club to swim laps.  I had forgotten my swim suit a couple of days ago and so I asked the desk clerk to look in the lost and found for it.  It wasn’t there and so I said out loud (much to my disappointment), “I can’t believe someone stole my swim suit!”  I went back to the locker room so see if it was there and then went back to the clerk and said, “Is there anyplace else you can check?  I just can’t believe someone would steal my swimsuit.”  He checked a few other places and determined it wasn’t there.

Not having other workout clothes, I couldn’t think of anything else I could do for a workout so I hopped into the Jacuzzi.  While sitting in the Jacuzzi, I started to notice my thinking which went something like this, “I can’t believe someone stole my swimsuit.”  “I’ve been coming here for years and nothing has ever been stolen.”  “I’ve lived in Flagstaff for 20 years and nothing has ever been stolen.” “This used to be such a safe place to live.”

After about 5 minutes I woke up.  Sat straight up in the Jacuzzi and said out loud (fortunately, no one else was around), “Mary, what do you actually know?”  I answered, “That I left my swim suit here on Tuesday and Thursday it wasn’t here.”

I said this to myself a couple of times until I calmed down.  Then, I felt embarrassed of what I had said to the desk clerk and my thoughts in the next several minutes, so I gave myself empathy for wanting to be more conscious, to live without blame, to Live in the Observation.  Deep breath.

To me, Living in the Observation, is a spiritual, moment-to-moment practice.  It requires me to WAKE UP, notice what I’m thinking or saying, and bring myself right back to the observation.  In doing this, I don’t allow myself to linger in the suffering I cause by what I make up about a situation.  In this case, what I made up was that someone stole my swim suit, that Flagstaff wasn’t a safe place anymore, and that my club wasn’t a safe place anymore.  All of those thoughts caused me suffering – self-induced suffering.  When I can bring myself back to what I know “I left my suit at the club on Tuesday and it wasn’t there on Thursday,” I can pull myself out of suffering and relax.

I don’t know what happened to my suit.  Maybe it was stolen.  Maybe it was ruined (because I left it in the sauna to dry) and so someone threw it away, maybe something else.  The point is I don’t actually know what happened to it, so imagining what might have happened to it only causes suffering.  I prefer to Live in the Observation so I can enjoy my life experience more.

Okay, so here’s a bit of gratitude.  The time span from the time I walked into the club and when I woke up in the Jacuzzi was approximately 10 minutes.  I used to live entire years in self-induced suffering.  I am incredibly grateful that I WAKE UP much more quickly now.

Tags: challenges, compassion, Living in the Observation

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Comments (5)

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    Vie

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    I loved this and needed to hear it today to remember to reflect on my own growth.

    Waking up within 10 minutes is definitely great progress. But let’s face it, waking up in a JACUZZI – now that is REAL progress!

    I’m making up a story that maybe life just wanted to encourage you to nurture yourself. Forget the laps, just relax… Perhaps “stealing” your swimsuit was the only way!

    By the way, next time you’re torturing yourself in a jacuzzi, please remember that yes, we out here in the ether ARE thinking about you. Your reflections and NVC meditations are real nourishment and I’m so grateful for your contrbution. Thank you!

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    Cat

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    Thanks for sharing, Mary. I too am working on living in the Observation instead of in assumption/suffering/blame. I still make mistakes but thanks to NVC (and you!) I’m “waking up” more quickly each time and learning not to beat myself up over what’s said and done. Onward and upward! :o)

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  • Avatar

    Maire O'Sullivan

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    Thanks Mary, I really appreciate this. I like the idea of “Living in the observation” as a mindful practice. I appreciate your openness because I often despair of myself for my habit of getting tied up in stories about myself and others.

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    Satya

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    OH! Thanks Mary! I SO love the self-awareness you triggered in me reading your aware reflection on your thoughts.
    Self-Empathy going on right now, rather than sharing my ‘story’ further.
    Thanks and Love to you dear friend.
    Ken

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  • Avatar

    MIck

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    Great story! I’m impressed how honest observation always brings me back to peace even if the route back can be a little uncomfortable.

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